Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of disorder of your heart rate or rhythm. It occurs when disorganized electrical signals cause the atria (heart's two upper chambers) to contract very rapidly and irregularly. As a result, the blood is not pumped completely into the ventricles (heart’s two lower chambers) and collects in the atria. The atria and ventricles therefore do not contract in a coordinated manner resulting in either too much or not enough blood being sent from the heart to the body.
People with atrial fibrillation may not experience any symptoms. In some people, it may cause chest pain, heart failure, and increased risk of stroke.
Treatment of atrial fibrillation involves medications and certain medical procedures to restore a normal heart rhythm. Blood thinners may be prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. Cardioversion, a procedure where an electrical shock is delivered to your heart to restore its normal rhythm, may also be performed. If medications or cardioversion does not work to control atrial fibrillation, ablation therapy is recommended.
Ablation therapy aims to create scar tissue near the site of the origin of the abnormal electrical impulses to terminate them and prevent them from spreading. Ablation can be performed either surgically or nonsurgically depending on the type of arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) and the presence of other cardiac problems.